It has been some time. Doctor Robichaud feels it has been too long. He would have liked to see me 'work through' some of the aggression that my father's late year shenanigans brought up, but honestly I cannot imagine anyone reading this would care. If you know anything of my father, you have your opinions. If you do not know anything of my father why would you want to learn? You have issues of your own, I'm sure.
Nick and I have gone our separate ways. I would like to say it was laden with acrimony but honestly it wasn't. One day we realized we weren't talking. Another day we realized we never saw each other. And finally we realized we had absolutely no plans in common with one another. He had L'Oreal, I had Aeroplan, and otherwise we had a shared apartment. I have given it over entirely to him, and I am currently staying in a rather nice Montreal hotel while my other plans work out. The long term rates are better than I had expected, and I must admit having dry cleaning service, room service and housekeeping as a part of daily life is appealing. I can focus on other things instead.
One of which is my next step. I got some nibbles from Wall Street and from a few nice corporations in Chicago and Los Angeles, when something unexpected happened. We had been working on one of the major rewards accounts -- corporate, for Dannon -- and were coordinating the benefits with their home office at Groupe Danone back in Paris. As with any decent businessperson I got to know the executives I was working with, and that led to me having a few informal discussions, which in turn led to some formal discussions. I have a 90 day Non-Compete clause in my contract, so I will be going on what has always been euphemistically called 'Gardening Leave,' and then I am off to Paris as an Executive Manager in their Benefits and Human Resources offices. In effect, I will be working the other side of negotiations with companies like Aeroplan and other benefits firms. Assuming all goes well, it could lead to rapid promotion. As it is, it leads to a larger salary -- and a more complete break with my past.
Anthony doesn't understand, of course. This will put me halfway around the world from Françoise, after all. That is true, of course, but what that really means is I will have an excuse to renegotiate custody so that instead of the full month I get with her now, I can have four week long visitations -- perhaps two in France, two in Canada. Or maybe all in France, depending on how well she travels. Regardless, it means I can devote all our visiting time to her, rather than trying to have some kind of life while she's here.
It is only for thirteen more years. I can survive that.
Anthony not understanding is something I have gotten used to. Of course, it's all gotten worse with the last several days. It seems his brother in law or sister in law or someone is breaking up with their spouse, and so just like when the sister in law had the miscarriage Elizabeth has flown off to bravely be by their side. Which means that since Christmas she has spent more time in Colorado than Vancouver. He can't get his stepmother to fly out again so he's had to go to a full time caregiver for the children. I chuckled and told him to get used to it -- Elizabeth had one foot out the door now and she wouldn't be looking back.
He protested -- he said things were getting better. But he forgets I've sat in those same sessions with Pierre and the two of them. Anthony wants to believe it's getting better -- it's all part of the myth. But I remember when Elizabeth talked about her previous relationships -- the boy in College, the police officer, the helicopter pilot. And whenever things began to threaten to put down real roots she bolted. Something came up. Homesickness, maybe, or family emergencies, or what have you. She left every job she ever had -- and hadn't he suggested she find a job? -- and came up with reasons to move on or move out and then become enraged and wronged when the people she left behind moved on without her. Now it is Anthony's turn.
It was a phone call where we discussed all this, and I can't say it ended well. He gets flustered rather than angry, and becomes passive-aggressive again. But I'm sure I'm right. Elizabeth will decide she likes her freedom, and then she'll find some kind of job that puts her close to her family 'so she can help out,' and she'll have more and more excuses to not be in Vancouver, and then when she goes back she'll be stunned that Anthony has moved on with his life.
If he does. Heaven knows he's stupid enough to wait for her. And if they divorce, he'll no doubt end up with custody of both children -- even the boy who's no relation to him -- and who knows where the pattern will reassert itself.
I have spent too much of my letter dwelling on Anthony and Elizabeth, but honestly it is the only thing left to dwell on. When I am ensconced in France, my father will no longer be even a tangential part of my life. For the next thirteen or so years Françoise will keep me tenuously connected to Anthony, before that finally ends once and for all, but I will be moving out of regular contact even with him. I can keep in touch with Françoise via letters and parcels.
It is an exciting new day dawning in front of me. Gardening leave starts on the 15th of March -- the Ides of March indeed -- and I will begin at Groupe Danone in July. That gives me three months to find a place to live and get my life in order.
I hope your lives are just as exciting, and look forward to hearing from all of you.